Monday, September 2, 2013

12 Days in Korea: Random Things I've Learnt about Korea #1

continued from: 12 Days in Korea
note: photos are not edited because i simply don't have the time. so i'm sorry for dark photos or stuff. :(

Random Things I've Learnt about Korea #1
1. Paris Baguette here have differing prices at different locations/outlets
:O :O I KNOW RIGHT. i only realised it when i happen to zoom into a random sausage pastry doing the movie digest so i happen to remember how much it was and was shocked to see it cheaper at the outlet outside SK Global. i subsequently went into random outlets at different places while traveling and found them all at different prices!!! you would think that chains like Paris Baguette would have uniform prices and stuff just like BreadTalk or something but that isn't the case here! i'm guessing the higher the traffic area the more expensive it is? or maybe nearer to schools would be cheaper? i have no idea. but let me show you:
At Sincheon
Outside SK Global
they are exactly the same but 500won different in price! and i'm sorry for the funny sizes i had to screenshot a video for one of the images. and i took picture of the one at SK Global on purpose to make sure that my memory wasn't lying to me. and i checked! it varies all over the place. at least from what i've seen. i've seen like 1900 or 2000 or something. they're all different?? yes. shocker for me at least.

2. Everyone Must Eat Meat at BBQ Shops
we learnt this yesterday when we wanted to try Haha's Makchang shop but was told that everyone had to order a main (like one serving of meat/makchang/samgyeopsal) per person before being able to order a side dish (which includes things like bean stew or something.) my roomie's a vegetarian so unless i took two portions on my own, we couldn't dine there. BUT I'D BE BACK! pulling the other NBS girls along some night perhaps.

3. Koreans love their sugar.
it may be a one-off or two-off or many-off experience for me but it seems that everything here tends to lean towards to sweet side (meat aside probably). i thought it was a Thailand thing. i had some Isaac Toast two days ago and ordered the Bulggogi MVP toast (₩2,400 ~SGD$3) expecting some nice savoury sandwich. but i was greeted with a sweet sandwich? i think they sweeten the egg or something. and there was corn in it too. EatYourKimchi often mention that Koreans like to add corn to everything. proven. 
i have photogenic nails muahahaha :D:D
then i got myself an Egg Bread (literal translation from Korean) and it was sweet too! it's like a sunny side up on bread shaped in an oval and the bread was sweet and there was corn in it. maybe the corn is sweet which makes everything sweet.. i don't know. there are also a number of sweet street food (100% caramel crackers and ice waffle = waffle ice cream)

Egg Bread, ₩1,000 (~SGD$1.20)

Ice Waffles, ₩1,000 (~SGD$1.20) 
100% Caramel Crackers, ₩1,000 (~SGD$1.20)
4. My Favourite Street Food (so far)
I haven't tried a lot of street food. but this is my current favorite;
Cinnamon Sugar Pancake: Hotteok ₩1,000 

not a very good picture but this has like sugar and cinnamon inside (redundancy i know hahaha) and it's supposed to be chewy of some sort like a pancake and crispy at the same time? but this was just crispy and i like it all the same. i guess cos it feels relatively guilt-free and light as compared to all the other street-food.

5. Korean food is high in carbohydrates
i probably talked enough about it earlier. and i mean look at my previous two points (and all those stuff i consumed.. lol). most of these stuff are carbs. there's just so much rice in the diet. Kimchi Fried Rice, Omu Rice, Kimbap, Stew + Rice. even BBQ will come with rice. well not if i don't order it which i shan't from now on that is. yet Korean people are generally all good-looking and slim/well-build. and i thought, maybe they exercise. a lot. or maybe they go for liposuction or something. i don't know man really. i've been here for less than 2 weeks and i distinctively feel like i've put on weight. (and i'm pretty sure my parents think so too but they don't say it hahahaha). BUT. i'm doing something about it at least! i've been walking a whole lot and i'm down for 4 dance classes a week. i'm sure that'll do something about it right?!? i mean when i had ONE dance class a week i already felt healthier and that it help controlled my weight. so i'm sure i'll go back down soon.. i hope. and i started having my oatmeal today. i will not go back to Singapore heavier. NO.

6. Koreans will speak to you in Korean regardless of whether you can understand Korean or not.
well most part of that is true, unless you're in a touristy area like Myeongdong and the shops (mostly cosmetic shops) have Chinese-speaking staff who will advertise outside in Chinese and speak to you in Chinese the moment you enter the store. and that annoys and saddens me at the same time. how Myeongdong is now such a touristy area. it's kinda sad. i don't know. that aside, as long as you're Asian, (actually even if you are distinctively foreign,) they will speak to you in Korean. even if they know you don't understand... yes. hahaha.

7. Samples and freebies.
you're going to get plenty of them if you're stockpiling back home and buying a significant amount worth i suppose. otherwise i don't think they really give samples for smaller purchases. so i don't usually get anything unless i know i'm going to really spend. hahaha. yes. and somehow i feel that the stores in Myeongdong or more shopping districts give out more samples than other areas. some shops are really generous with samples (i.e. Missha at Sincheon). we were purely browsing and wanted to go in to browse when the sales staff outside prompted us to choose a sample choice and we did. but we had no intentions of purchasing anything. so when we got out we returned the basket to her with the samples. she took out the samples, gave them to us and took the basket. impressive definitely. as compared to a particular store i visited, Saem Cosmetics i believe, at Myeongdeong when the staff rudely snatched the samples and the baskets off us when we didn't get anything. terrible CS and a sure way to make sure that i won't return. nonetheless, i'm growing my sample pile here and using all the free cotton pad i've been getting. i told my roomie that maybe i'll be able to survive off free cotton pads here without buying any for the next 4 months. 
well of course not. Olive&Young are sale-ling so i picked up two boxes of cotton pads for ₩950 which are <SGD$1.20. probably about SGD$1 or so each yesterday, along with some Darkness false lashes, Darkness glue, eyebrow scissors and.. a couple of other stuff.

8. The percentage of good-looking people in Korea are significantly higher
okay this probably comes as a duh thing. considering the fact that probably 80% up of women here go for plastic surgery. no i didn't pluck the numbers out of thin air. a friend's korean friend said it. i mean bearing that in mind, there should be more good-looking people in Korea. my friend said that she has seen more good looking guys here (in the 1.5 weeks here) than she has every seen in her 21 years of life?!?! i said more in one day than a week back at home. maybe it's because they bother to dress up. both the guys and girls. and we were randomly walking back when we saw a group of Korean guys. JUST THE BACKVIEW. and they were all tall and built, in suits. how often do we see that back at home?? maybe one sudden tall figure with relatively not as tall friends. btu ALL TALL? do they have knee surgeries or something? but i read somewhere that they wear platform shoes. maybe, i don't know.  

"Do you realise we can't even walk to our destination without... eh that PJs v cute let's go in and see... oh man i can't even finish my sentence without being distracted.." ._.
yes this happened to us two days ago. i was telling Lynette that all we wanted was probably to get to Nature Republic but we would stop at Artbox, stop at waffle stall, stop at a convenience store or Olive&Young. it's even worst when we're at somewhere new. because well.. everything is new to us. it was quite funny. because we were walking past Artbox and i was telling her how distracted we would be when i saw a cute pair of PJ pants and realised that even my sentences were being disrupted. lol.

10. Sneakers.
this is one point that i don't quite mind. Korean girls love wearing sneakers with everything. dresses, skirts, pants, shorts. ANYTHING. and i love sneakers. they are so comfy.

okay so i stuffed that last point in just because i thought ten was a nicer number. that's about it for now. i'm getting rather sleepy and feel a headache coming on. maybe i'll go take a short nap. i've actually a lot of thoughts after being here for about 10 days. like how it's amazing that the locals here really appreciate their own artsy scene, music and stuff. how Hongdae is the area for that, and people know and support that. maybe it's like how the people in the East back at home appreciate being in the East, appreciate the shophouses and the semblances of old Peranakan culture. i just wish that we had a stronger art and music culture. *Scape was probably an effort at that. the whole scape park and graffiti thing going on. but i think it's going to be very hard to be able to create an area where people can just make music as an when they want. busking or not. the only buskers we really see right now are usually the older folks or people who have special licenses.

i guess it's a lot easier to appreciate your home country when you've stayed in a foreign land for awhile. especially one that is relatively Xenophobic. (i.e., you'll never be seen as a Korean no matter how long you may have stayed in Korea, while a returning Korean who probably grew up most of his life overseas comes back and is embraced as a Korean nonetheless.)

you'll appreciate being part of your country, part of being accepted and sharing a common identity and culture with everyone else around you. life back home may be hectic and stressful sometimes. but if you look at the big picture, take a step back, walk around abit and widen your horizons, it's ten times easier to know that things aren't as serious as they seem. or they aren't bad as they look.

i know it's quite cheesy. ok very cheesy. but home is where the heart is. home is where all of you (family and friends who are reading this right now) are. and i now know for sure that it's going to be pretty damn hard pulling me away from that for life elsewhere.

nonetheless, i'm looking forward to experiencing Korea, life here and learning something new everyday. the 4 months here are full of hope, potential and excitement. and perhaps, an escape or distraction from issues back at home. to detach.
i don't miss home crazily as of yet.
and i don't know if anyone at home will miss my presence.

because life moves so fast and people just trim the edges of their lives that no longer fall within range. not many people wake up in the morning planning to forget someone. there are just so many things in our lives that pushes less important people over the edge and out of our lives, if that makes any sense.

i don't know about all you people back at home, but if there are many things going on in my Korean life, i will make sure to increase the capacity of my space and make the effort to keep all the important people within range. if they want to be within range that is, because i'm not good at chasing after people all the time. tiring and against my pride.

they say distance makes the heart grow fonder.
i'm not sure if it works that way, but i will let yknow.

okay off to nap/post pictures or do rubbish now. maybe i'll write about something else tonight while i paint my nails in the lounge. there is something very comforting about painting my nails from 11pm onwards in the lounge, alone with my mac, listening to Sodagreen. (chinese songs are back in my radar now, ironically.) Yup that's it and.. congratulations for reaching the end. lol.

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